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A God Who Forgets

At my age, I've seen it all, done it all, heard it all; I just can't remember it at all.

These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter. I go somewhere to get something and then wonder what I came here after.

Last week, I heard another really clever joke about forgetfulness. But I can’t remember what it was.

We laugh at our memory loss - perhaps to keep from crying. It can be very frustrating to forget. I once spent the better part of a morning searching for my car keys. I combed the yard, front and back, thinking my keys had fallen out of my jacket pocket the night before. I searched the kids’ rooms thinking they had borrowed my keys and failed to return them. Finally, I found my keys. They were in my bucket of small change – right where I’d left them.

But forgetting is not always bad. Aren’t there moments in your life you would like to forget? Aren’t there pieces of your past that you would prefer that God not remember? The Psalmist begged of God, “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways” (Psalm 25:7). That’s a wish I can certainly share.

The good news is that it’s a request that God is willing to grant. “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more,” he promises his people (Hebrews 10:17). Obviously, God can remember; he’s just willing not to.

What a great gift to us! What a great challenge for us to imitate! “Love keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5), but we often do.

What should you forget? Maybe that hurtful comment your spouse made last night? Or that time last year when you got skipped for the promotion at work? Maybe the 2 million previous times you’ve told your teen to clean his room?

Or, it could be that what you most need to forget are your own sins. But you can’t forget them until you take the prescribed steps so God agrees to forget them. Once he has forgiven and forgotten, the healthiest choice we can make is to forget our failures. “Forgetting what is behind,” wrote the apostle Paul, is a critical part of the secret of being content (Philippians 3:13; 4: 12).

Thank God for what he forgets. May he grant us the ability to forget what he does, whether it’s our sin or someone else’s.


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